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MBB Bölkow BO.105
MBB / Kawasaki BK.117
Eurocopter EC145
OO-NHB Airbus Helicopters EC145 c/n 9083 - CMH - Centre Médical Héliporté - Bra sur Lienne in Belgium - 9 April 2014 Sikorsky S-76A D-HOSA

The Airbus Helicopters EC145 is a ten-seat multi-mission medium-weight class, twin-engine helicopter. Development of the EC145 started in 1977 as BK117 in a co production between MBB from Germany and Kawasaki Heavy Industries from Japan. The first of four prototypes, two built by MBB in Donauwörth and two by Kawasaki in Gifu, flew in Germany on 13 June 1979. The first prototype built in Japan flew on 10 August 1979. The first production aircraft (built by KHI in Japan) flew in December 1981, and first deliveries took place early in 1983. Initial production was of the BK 117 A1, while the BK 117 A3 with higher max takeoff weight and enlarged tail rotor with twisted blades was certificated in March 1985. The BK 117 A4 with increased performance and improved tail rotor head was introduced in 1987. The helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and Aerospatiale from France merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group. Development of the EC145 started in 1997 in a co production by Eurocopter Germany and Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan. The EC 145 flew first in 1999 and is in production since 2002. The EC 145 is actual the MBB-BK117 C-2 and the German Government Agencies (LBA) Type Certificate was originally issued on 20 December 2000 to Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH. In July 2006, the U.S. Army selected the military variant of the EC145, the UH-145 (renamed UH-72A) as the U.S. Army's new multi-mission Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). Next to the Eurocopter Deutschland EC145 productionline in Donauwörth, the EC145 is manufactured by American Eurocopter LLC in Columbus, Mississippi, USA in the LUH configuration as UH-72A Lakota for the U.S. Army. In 2010, Eurocopter signed a agreement with Kazakhstan Engineering to create a 50/50 joint venture to assemble and customise EC145s in Kazakhstan. In 2011, Eurocopter officially launched an evolved version of the EC145, designed EC-145 T2. The EC-145 T2 has a significant increase of the aircraft's performance, featuring new Arriel 2E turboshaft engines, along with Eurocopter's Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, upgraded main and tail rotor gear boxes, dual-digital Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC) and a 4-axis autopilot. Today, over 500 Eurocopter EC145's are in service worldwide. In March 2015, Airbus Helicopters changed the marketing name for its entire product line to better reflect its closer allignment with ist parent company and simplify the naming convention for the portfolio. That is why the EC145 T2 helicopter has since been marketed as “H145” as stated in revison No.EASA.R.010 Issue: 06 of the Type Certificate Data Sheet for MBB BK117 dated 17 April 2015. In June 2020, a new version of the H145 equipped with a five-bladed main rotor, increasing useful load by 150 kg and max takeoff weight to 3800 kg, archieved EASA certification. On 30 September 2020, Airbus delivered the first H145 new 5-blade type that replaced the standard 4-bladed rotor type in production. The 4-bladed H145s already in service can be retrofitted to the new 5-blade standard. As before, H145 is the marketing name for both the BK 117 D-2 (4-blade main rotor variant) and BK 117 D-3 (5-blade main rotor variant. The H145 programme offers special versions for utility work; Police work; VIP transport with Mercedes-Benz-style design; and the H145M - a military variant for multi-role purposes. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the EC145 helicopter is EC45.

As a result of the merger between the Eurocopter parents Aérospatiale-Matra; DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronàuticas Sociedad Anonima (CASA) in July 2000, the Eurocopter group became a division of the new formed EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space company). Taking off into 2014, EADS was rebranded as "Airbus Group". Uniting all its activities under a single brand, its helicopter division Eurocopter was rebranded as Airbus Helicopters on 8 January 2014.

On 16 December 2005, permit to fly with the Eurocopter Deutschland test registration D-HMBG was issued for Eurocopter MBB-BK117 C-2 s/n 9083. On 16 January 2006, this EC145 was registered OO-NHB with Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen, Ostend, Belgium, as operator and KBC Lease NV as owner. The 2006-built helicopter was operated as the EMS helicopter "Spirit of Saint Luc" of CMH - Centre Médical Héliporté and stationed in Bra-Sur-Lienne. In 2020, the OO-NHB was replaced at Bra-Sur-Lienne and offered for sale. On 4 August 2022, registration OO-NHB was cancelled as exported to France. On 13 October 2022, the EC145 was registered F-HTKT with SAF Hélicoptères, the he new owner of the helicopter.

On 9 April 2014, Eurocopter EC145 OO-NHB was seen at the helipad of EBMS Lierneux/Bra; Centre Médical Héliporté de Bra-sur-Lienne in the region Durbuy-Tohogne in Belgium. This Rescue Centre is situated in an aerea where it is hard or even not possible to give any urgent medical emergency needed, in less than 15 minutes, without the emergency services of the Centre Medical Heliporte. On 26 December 1986, l'ASBL ((non-profit organisation) "Centre de secours médicalisé de Bra-sur-Lienne" was founded by Dr Luc Maquoi and his wife. Emergency service operations were initially conducted by ambulance car. On 18 September 1997, additional EMS helicopter operations started out of EBMS Lierneux/Bra with the Wiking Helicopter Service' Sikorsky S-76A D-HOSA "Spirit of Saint Luc". The death Dr. Luc Macqquoi in July 2002, forced the members of the association to restructure and professionalize the management of the Centre. In 2003, an agreement was reached with the CHU Liège for the operation of medical centers. In December 2003, the German helicopter operator Wiking Helicopter Service was changed for the Belgian operator Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen. Sikorsky S-76A D-HOSA was replaced as "Spirit of Saint Luc" by the NHV' Eurocopter AS365 N2 Dauphin II OO-NHZ. Early 2006, NHV - Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen replaced the Dauphin II OO-NHZ by Eurocopter EC145 OO-NHB. In October 2007, the CSM Bra-sur-Lienne took over the CHU Liège operations from EBMS Lierneux/Bra. CMH - Centre Médical Héliporté is on 24-hour standby with their ambulances and EMS helicopter. The helicopter is known as "Spirit of Saint Luc" derived of Saint Luc, the Patron Saint of physicians.

page last updated: 17-02-2023
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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